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Old 03-08-2010, 09:09 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,296 posts, read 4,668,703 times
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Hi,
I'm in my 40s (but youthful) and pursuing a lifelong dream to study Spanish abroad. I majored in Spanish in college and can read & write but would like to eventually become fluent. I would like to spend about 1 month in an immersion program that also has a cultural education component (i.e., living w/ a host family, excursions, etc.). I'm thinking about doing this in November.

I am African-American and would like to study in a country that has an Afro-Latino population, as I am very interested in the culture. Also, a program that isn't geared to the traditional aged college student would be best for me.

Friends have suggested Costa Rica and Ecuador. I've been advised to stay away from Mexico.

I welcome your suggestions.
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:25 AM
 
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I can't attest to a particular school. Once you narrow down the country, you should be able to research available institutions and get online reviews from students.

The country depends on how you prioritize (in-country travel/black-latino culture/infrastructure etc):
- If you're not a US citizen I'd direct you to Cuba above all else. You'll get a very rich/unique cultural experience, as there is a strong Afro Cuban culture/presence.
- If your first concern is a significant black latino population (and Cuba isn't an option) I'd direct you to Dominican Republic.
- If you want generic, vanilla, Spanish Ecuador is the easiest accent to understand. The black latino culture in Ecuador is scarce in comparison to Cuba/DR. You'll need to live in Guayaquil or further south to have a chance at experiencing it. I lived north, in Quito, which is a major city by Ecuadorian standards. I met/saw only 3 black people, each of which I befriended, each from elsewhere (Brasil/Canada/Cuba).
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Old 03-12-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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I am interested in attending a Spanish school, also. I'm not African-American but like Queensgrl, I am in my 40's and was hoping not to study with only 20-year olds! I was leaning toward Cuenca Ecuador.

Callsnap, do you have any input on that city?
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:25 PM
 
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Just ran into this spanish school while researching Copan Ruinas in Honduras....looks very interesting:

Ixbalanque Spanish School - Copan Ruinas, Honduras (http://www.ixbalanque.com/index.htm - broken link)
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Old 03-13-2010, 11:00 AM
 
476 posts, read 1,015,953 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonnaLBC View Post
I am interested in attending a Spanish school, also. I'm not African-American but like Queensgrl, I am in my 40's and was hoping not to study with only 20-year olds! I was leaning toward Cuenca Ecuador.

Callsnap, do you have any input on that city?
I know someone who used Language Link for Spanish study and homestay in Mexico. She was in her 40's at the time and enjoyed it immensely, but I'm not sure about her classmates' age range.

Sorry, I'm not too familiar with Cuenca other than passing through. I think it's a better bet than Quito just for the fact that it's a mid-size city. So it's easier to navigate, cleaner than the largest cities (Guayaquil & Quito) and still has the amenities of a metropolitan area.
I try to read others' "on the ground" experiences before I select a location for travel. That way I'm not making a decision blind, or based on the sales pitch of someone with a vested financial interest (e.g., travel agent, language program). Lonely Planet is pretty good for aggregating travel blogs but you can also try a google search. Not sure if LP is a competitor site so I PM'd you the links.

Last edited by heavyweight; 03-13-2010 at 11:10 AM..
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:55 AM
 
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I spent one year in Guayaquil (which is the business center of Ecuador) teaching English at a local university without knowing any Spanish. I had a homestay arrangement with an Ecuadorian family (who spoke no English) and learned to speak Spanish very quickly.
I also visited Cuenca which is Ecuador's 3rd largest city. Cuenca is more quaint than either Guayaquil or Quito (which I also visited). But it is also a good place to learn Spanish.
In general Ecuador is a good place to study Spanish.
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:22 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,296 posts, read 4,668,703 times
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I am still working on narrowing this down. As it now stands, here's my list of countries, in order of preference:

1) Cuba (I think this would give me the best Afro-Latin cultural immersion. I am not too keen on going to the DR, given the perspectives on race). Has anyone done a study abroad in Cuba? How did you get a Visa?
2) Costa Rica (from what people have told me, it offers the best balance of education and safety)
3) Cuernavaca, Mexico (recommendation from a former professor, however I have some reservations about safety in Mexico)
4) Ecuador (if any one has a school recommendation, please pass it on)
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:56 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,296 posts, read 4,668,703 times
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Default Reposting -- Anyone have info?

Reposting -- Anyone have info?

Quote:
Originally Posted by queensgrl View Post
I am still working on narrowing this down. As it now stands, here's my list of countries, in order of preference:

1) Cuba (I think this would give me the best Afro-Latin cultural immersion. I am not too keen on going to the DR, given the perspectives on race). Has anyone done a study abroad in Cuba? How did you get a Visa?
2) Costa Rica (from what people have told me, it offers the best balance of education and safety)
3) Cuernavaca, Mexico (recommendation from a former professor, however I have some reservations about safety in Mexico)
4) Ecuador (if any one has a school recommendation, please pass it on)
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Old 05-08-2010, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Buenos Aires
33 posts, read 76,700 times
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I think that there is no difference in the quality of teaching that you are getting in any country where the spanish is the native language.
What makes you think that ecuador is better than chile , argentina or uruguay in that matters?
Mi advise would be to give more importance to which culture you would like to meet.
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Old 05-22-2010, 03:04 PM
 
11,305 posts, read 21,790,625 times
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Check out Easy Espanol. They are Jackson Heights-owned but offices are in midtown. They have a study program in Quito and Peru. Easy Espanol

The nice thing is that you could take a class or possibly even a free workshop with them here in NY to get a sense of how they run things. Then make up your mind if you want to do their study abroad program.
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